Sponsors of a bill that would legalize equal marriage in Illinois might be short the 60 votes needed despite a Democratic House majority, but the bill is picking up Republican support.
Two Republican Reps. will vote for SB10, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.
Ron Sandack (R-81) Ed Sullivan Jr. (R-51) will vote "yes" on equal marriage, they announced.
Sandack, who previously told Naperville Patch he did not support moving past civil unions, told Windy City Times that he believes SB10 respects families and protects religious freedom.
"It's a question of freedom, fundamental fairness and equality under the law," said Sandack.
"Those are core Republican and pro-family concepts," he added.
Sandack said he has had conversations with colleagues on both sides of the aisle.
"The public is way ahead of us [in the General Assembly] on this," he said.
Sullivan became the second Republican rep. to come out for the bill.
According to Chicago Tribune, Sullivan's mother-in-law is gay. He said he believes that other Republicans will support the bill.
"There is tremendous momentum leading up to this vote. I think we're very close," he told the Tribune. "There's many of my colleagues that have talked about this, that have said it's the right thing to do."
Sullivan's support is seen as significant because he serves as chairman of the House Republican campaign organization.
Sullivan is the latest in a string of high-profile Republicans to back equal marriage both in the state and nationally. His support comes days after Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk publicly backed equal marriage. Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady has also called for the passage of SB10, a move that landed him in hot water with some of his colleagues.
Republican support will be welcome news from SB10 sponsors and LGBT leaders. The bill passed the full Senate and the House Executive Committee but has yet to pick up the 60 votes it needs to pass the House, despite a Democratic House majority.
Chief Sponsor Greg Harris said he will not call the bill to a vote until those 60 votes are in line. LGBT organizations have said that a vote on the bill could come any day now.
Gov. Quinn strongly supports the bill and has said he will sign it into law.